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Have you ever gotten ripped off by a cab driver in Cancun? I have. The driver sitting outside the airport claimed to have the best price. I knew neither how far the hotel really was nor how many pesos were in a dollar. He spoked quickly and claimed he couldn’t understand my moderate-level Spanish. (Okay, he may not have been lying about that.
AMC just announced that The Night of the Gun, the memoir of late New York Times writer David Carr, will become a TV mini-series starring Bob Odenkirk. It’s about damn time. Carr was one of his generation’s best journalists and a personal inspiration to me and countless others. The Night of the Gun was perhaps the best thing he wrote.
How important is originality in filmmaking? Instead of heading to the theater for Batman vs. Superman or My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 last week, I took a painstaking look at the data on 600 recent movie sequels to find out. This is apparently how nerds spend their spare time.[footnote]My colleague Greta inadvertently joined the nerd ranks by spending her weekend helping me compile the data.
Who would you rather have as your president: Donald Trump or a burrito from Chipotle? On March 2, after Trump swept the Republican party’s Super Tuesday primary elections, I conducted a statistically significant 1 national poll of 402 registered voters from around the United States asking that very question. The voters were almost split 50/50.
The prevailing media narrative for the last two U.S. presidential elections confirms what our high school math teachers always told us: It pays to be nice to nerds. Technology, from social media to “big data,” has become the new key to campaign success. This narrative even holds true for political pundits—some people now refer to data geeks like FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver a ...
It’s too late to put the toothpaste back in the tube when it comes to race and this year’s Oscars, but data might be able to help us figure out how to address the race issue in Hollywood. Professional racism is not a new thing in the movie business, or the whole of American business for that matter.
“You cannot bore people into buying your product; you can only interest them in buying it.” —David Ogilvy It’s been four years since the thing called content marketing started taking over the Internet.1 Per industry tradition, I’m obligated to point out that this party has been going on since the printing press.
One of the most common mistakes brands make when tackling content marketing dates back to the beginning of mass media itself: Renaissance-era Italy and the birth of gossip newsletters. Writers would loiter in commerce centers, churches, and public squares, and then combine the news they heard into a single-page “Avviso” and print it up using the latest technology, Gutenberg’s press.
Content marketing. It’s been a thing since before Donald Trump even had hair. Right now, it’s one of the hottest trends in advertising and publishing, with bazillion-dollar bills splashing in all directions. Five years ago, two of my best friends and I paused our lives to build a tech company to help make publishing better for businesses and creative people, putting us right in ...
Moviegoers love a nice cliché. At least, if ticket sales for superhero comic films are any indication. See what I did there? I just used one myself. (Actually, two.) As a writer, I’m obligated to turn my nose up (three!) at clichés, wherever I see them. But my snobbery is hypocritical: I critique the unoriginality of my writer friends, yet I type clichés by the dozen.
This piece by Contently co-founder Shane Snow originally appeared on Pando. The Hopi Indians had a proverb: “Those who tell the stories rule the world.” Modern technologists have a similarly sweeping observation, noted by investor Marc Andreessen: “Software is eating the world.” In other words, old industries will eventually be revolutionized by software.
Yesterday, I got 292 emails. I backburnered, procrastinated, or ignored 196 of them. I’m in that love/hate relationship with email that busy people never shut up about. And though I’ve managed to get people in the habit of routing correspondence through chat or my office manager—and though I’ve been working on the whole “saying no” thing—the email flood persists.
In robotics and animation, a phenomenon occurs when characters start to look too real. The human brain is comfortable dealing with things it’s certain are either definitely real or definitely fake. However, a rendering that looks just close enough to reality—but not quite—suddenly becomes creepy. R2D2 is cute when he chatters and beeps. We can see ourselves befriending C3PO.
A friend of mine recently left Tesla, the renowned electric car maker, saying, “It was incredible,” but “I’d never work there again.” His sentiment echoed that of several former employees of another of today’s most celebrated companies, SpaceX, when I interviewed them for my 2014 book on innovation. Direct quotes include “We were in the presence of brilliance” and “It scared me.
I recently discovered a less-known feature of Google Images, and subsequently killed half a day’s productivity playing with it. Inside the search box, on images.google.com only, there’s a little camera icon that lets you search the Web for photos that look similar to one you upload or link to. My inner narcissist immediately uploaded my headshot.
In 1884, a 27-year-old kid named Samuel Sidney McClure launched a startup that would define the media industry for 130 years. Previously the co-founder of his student newspaper at Knox College, young McClure had moved to New York City to make his way as a newsman. At the time, the burgeoning—and unregulated—advertising industry was beginning to make newspapers around the world more sensational.
Several years ago, I wrote a story for Wired in which my first draft began with the line “You can learn a lot about someone from the reading material atop his or her toilet.” With today’s smartphone penetration, it might be appropriate to amend that statement, saying, “You can learn a lot about someone by what he or she listens to on the toilet.
For businesses, social media is like meth. I say this based on encyclopedic knowledge of drugs obtained via Breaking Bad marathons. Meth’s great for a while, but over time it’s harder to get the results you once got. At some point, you’re spending all your time and money thinking about it. And by the time you start worrying about your teeth falling out, it’s too late.
Hold on to your hoverboards, citizens of Earth. It’s 2015, which means our annual report on the state of content marketing is here. Though we didn’t get the flying cars and pizza re-hydrators we were promised this year, Marty McFly and various scientists have personally assured me that those things are coming soon.
James K. Polk, one of America’s best (and largely forgotten) presidents. History tends to sand the ugly edges off its principal cast. Time turns brutish presidents into heroes, and unabashed rapists into noblemen who “sailed the ocean blue.” In honor of Presidents Day, I’m going to dwell on the former.